MMGM (10/17/2016): The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

For MMGM, I'm recommending The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.

Here's the publisher's description:

Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones.With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.
Debut author Jacqueline Kelly deftly brings Callie and her family to life, capturing a year of growing up with unique sensitivity and a wry wit.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a 2010 Newbery Honor Book and the winner of the 2010 Bank Street - Josette Frank Award. This title has Common Core connections.

I really enjoyed this book! It is one of the few historical novels that manages to still be exciting and not boring. The book also tackles topics of women's roles, since Calpurnia is expected to grow up and become a debutante, while she would rather be a scientist. Calpurnia's relationship with her grandfather is special in that they have bonded strongly, and the relationship is written in a way that would make one wish that they had had such a relationship. The story is composed of many different subplots, which are interesting and vary the plot. The book was also a Newbery Honor, and for good reason. This is a great read for kids and adults alike!


  1. I have heard of this one but have yet to put it on my list of books to read. I'm adding it now thanks to your review.

  2. I loved this book. The stand alone sequel The Curious Workd of Calpurnia Tate is also excellent and delves even more into the roll of females during that time and Calpurnia's efforts to find her own way.

  3. Can't believe I still haven't read this one. Thanks for the review and the kick in the pants.

  4. I love the cover on this book. It takes one right into another time and place. I actually think I have a copy of this somewhere in my TBR pile. I will have to move it up. Thanks for the review.


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